Shortly, along with the feel of cooler days, we will be aware of the change of seasons. Football games are already getting underway, school begins tomorrow and the foliage will soon remind us of transformation.
In a recent conversation, someone spoke to me about how happy she is to find various groups at St. Andrews Church to which she can belong and feel welcomed. In another conversation, I was reminded of how important it is when someone has gotten difficult news – a new diagnosis, the loss of a job, or the news of a death – to have a place to go to find support, comfort and strength for the journey. In a meeting of church leaders we talked about the rapid changes of today and how churches are dealing with the new world we are in. The use of a Slinky was presented, only this Slinky is going up the stairs instead of down. Up is the direction we have to be moving, knowing with each flip to the next stair we have to ask God to help us stay ahead of the learning curve. When people turn to the church to find God’s peace, it is sometimes hard to find knowing the church is in as much transition as the world.
Change is something we can always count on. I have a little saying that I’ve had around for years, “Almost no one likes change, but everyone wants it to be better.” Change can be uncomfortable and can make us wish things were the way they used to be, but even the way things used to be were in the midst of change. Did you know that the medical definition of death is when the body ceases to change? Understanding this, we see that remaining the same is not really an option, and change takes on a more positive meaning regarding continuing life. And, of course, along with change as a constant, there is another constant – God. No matter what happens, God is with us.
What is not in transition is God’s word to us. It is as constant as it ever has been:
Jesus says: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)
“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son. Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.” (John 1:14, The Message)
We put our faith in God. These are words that remind us that no matter what is going on, we can count on faith to see us through. We can count on God to be there and to guide us. We can count on support so that step by step we will grow deeper in faith. The rhythms of grace…the generosity…watch and learn and grow.
Everyone needs a place to belong. If you are reading this, you likely have found such a place in our congregation. St. Andrews has a relatively short history, but a huge heart when it comes to being Christ’s community. I believe it will have a long history in its future if we keep company with Christ, learning to live freely and lightly in him, even with change taking place in each one of us and everywhere around us.
Rev. Anne Hébert